AMRG members bring a variety of skills to SAR operations. It is not necessary that every member be a proficient mountaineer or climber, but technical mountaineering and climbing skills are a strong plus. We are looking for individuals who are experienced backcountry travelers with solid navigation and survival skills and familiarity with Alaska’s backcountry, and who are willing to train extensively in one or more SAR specialties. Persons with previous experience in mountaineering, rock, and ice climbing, ski-patrolling, wilderness medical care, helicopter operations, snowmachining/ATV riding, search management or incident command are highly preferred, but we are in need of assistance of all types and have membership categories for those who want to help AMRG but not in field operations.
Operational Field Member
Volunteering as an operational field member with AMRG is a big time commitment. The group trains three times a month from September to May, and new members must complete a rigorous basic training program as well as external medical, avalanche, and search and rescue qualifications. Many of these qualifications will be at the member’s expense. Please see the below Operational Proficiency Standards for more information about the time required to be a member of AMRG.
Physical fitness is an important component of our members’ ability for SAR work. Field Operational members should expect to carry 25# – 50# packs for miles and possibly thousands of foot elevation gain depending on the type of mission.
Operational Base Member
Base members run the mission from the trailhead using the Incident Command System. They plan the search based on initial information and further investigation. They make team assignments, track team movements and adjust tactics as necessary to accomplish the mission safely and efficiently. Prior Search Management training is not required. Volunteering as an Operational Base Member requires good communication skills and the ability to work well with others and under pressure.
Someone who is not an Operational Field or Base member can help the group accomplish its mission in other ways. Auxiliary members might provide special expertise, or might dedicate their time to making the group more effective. Examples of possible auxiliary member roles include: organizing fundraising events, providing GIS or mapping expertise for better mission planning and execution, maintaining group equipment, providing communications support/expertise, supporting members during missions with food delivery, taking photographs or video to promote the group and bring awareness to backcountry safety issues, and planning social events for team resilience-building. Auxiliary Membership Applications are accepted throughout the year.
Our meetings and the majority of our training events take place within the Anchorage area.
Individuals who have sufficient time to volunteer are needed to work in all of the following skill areas:
- Technical rock, snow and ice climbing
- Search and rescue incident command (search management)
- Avalanche response
- Wilderness medicine
- Mapping/GIS/wilderness search planning
- Communications dispatch
- Communications maintenance
- SAR equipment maintenance
- Motorized equipment maintenance
- Information services (website maintenance)
If you are interested in becoming an Operational member with AMRG, please fill out our Membership form. Applications for review are cut off on the 1st of July of each year. Basic training for applicants who are accepted starts in September.